Photo above: Free at last, these new Marines congratulate each other after the Centennial Graduation Ceremony of Oscar and Charlie companions. Photo by Bob Sofaly.
By Bob Sofaly
Parris Island Marine Corp Recruit Depot celebrated its 100th Birthday last week with a formal gala, rededication of important monuments, a Battle Color ceremony, all culminating with the centennial graduation of the 583 new Marines of Charlie and Oscar companies. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green were also on hand for the festivities.
Parris Island MCRD trains half the male enlisted recruits that join the Marine Corps and 100% of the women who join.
According to the official Marines website, in 1911 the Marine Officers’ School and two recruit companies transferred to Norfolk, Va., after the Department of the Navy decided to use Port Royal for a disciplinary installation.
But needs changed and on Oct. 25, 1915, the recruit depot separated from the officers’ school and returned to Port Royal. It was established as Marine Barracks, Port Royal, S.C., with the principle mission of training enlisted Marine recruits. Three days later, the Navy transferred the land and buildings to the Marine Corps. To date, Parris Island has trained more than a million new Marines since its official designation as a training base.
From top left: Marching in extremely tight formation, members of the Silent Drill Platoon wow’d the crowd with impossibly crisp close order drill with M1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets, all without verbal commands; Sgt. Heather Song and Cpl. Brittany Priller of the Parris Island Marine Band, play their piccolos during “Morning Colors” to kick off the day marking 100 years of service at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot; Gen. Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps was the guest of honor during Parris Island 100th anniversary. Here he makes his remarks to active duty and retired Marines and civilians gathered; part of the brass section of the Drum and Bugle Corps. Band members are always looking forward but are always in the right place of the right time; the Parris Island Marine Band plays the National Anthem; members of H&S Battalion firing detail load and fire ceremonial canons; Cpl. Christian Gutierrez of the H&S Battalion Color Detail, rings “eight bells” to being the day last Friday, marking the 100th year of Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot; volunteers from theLiving History detachment of the Parris Island Historical and Museum Society, dress in authentic 1915 uniforms while another detachment in WWII uniforms simulates the raising of the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima to culminate the Morning Colors ceremony during last Friday’s Morning Colors ceremony; the drum line of the Drum and Bugle Corps are always pin point perfect. Photos by Bob Sofaly.